Survey Results

Americans say student loans are key obstacle to purchasing homes

Summary

On Oct. 21, 2014, NeighborWorks America released highlights from its second annual national housing survey. Chief among the findings is that despite a very tight mortgage lending environment and memories of the housing crisis still relatively fresh, the overwhelming majority of adults (88 percent) have maintained a positive view of homeownership.

This positive view of homeownership is even more evident among minorities, the fastest growing segment of homebuyers. Twenty-six percent of African-Americans and 18 percent of Hispanics said that homeownership is the most important part of their view of the "American Dream," compared to 8 percent of whites.
 

Survey details

The survey examined the effect that student loan debt burdens are having on homeownership. It found that nearly one-in-four adults knows someone who delayed the purchase of a home because of their student loan debt burden, and that 49 percent of holders of student debt said that the debt was “somewhat or very much” an obstacle to homeownership.

The complexity of the home buying process also is more noticeable among people with student loan debt. Fifty-one percent of this group say that the process is complicated against just 36 percent of adults without student loan debt.

Perhaps most troubling for the housing market in the future is that 20 percent of the people with student loan debt said that their view of homeownership has changed for the worse since the housing crisis, while just 13 percent without debt were as pessimistic.

Consumers with student loan debt are more likely to seek out the advice of a nonprofit housing counselor when pursuing homeownership (25 percent), than those without such debt (13 percent).

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Survey methodology

This survey was conducted by Widmeyer Communications, A Finn Partners Company, from Sept. 25-29, 2014. The survey was conducted with a nationally-representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults via telephone by professional interviewers using a random digit dial (RDD) sample. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.